Our unseasonably warm October-November was making me very uneasy, as if my instincts were telling me “Mother Nature will get even”. And sure enough, around November 5th, forecasters on local channels put on their Ominous Faces and began to foretell, with obvious delight, of a big ol’ Polar Express heading down from Canada that would “even reach as far south as Central Texas!”
Sure enough, just as those gorgeous big green ‘maters started looking paler, it hit.
So I picked a bucket of the biggest ones I could find through the foliage and brought them in.
One of my blogger heroines, Farmgirl Susan, re-posted her Green Tomato Relish recipe, along with her advice on ripening green tomatoes. Bring them in, set them down, and eventually some of them will turn red – yep, that’s all there is to it, she says.
There’s a very corny, cringe-worthy song on my iTunes playlist. It makes me happy, makes me grin and tap my feet, and if you’re farm-raised like me, I dare you to listen without feeling the same effects.
Here it is:
What’s really remarkable about this little oddity of mine is that I haven’t lived on a farm for, oh, about 50 years or so. Dang, some things really stick, don’t they?
- The memory of my mom wading in the mud after dark to make sure those veggies were watered after the well demands from the stock and house had subsided.
- The sweet spicy smell of the dill plants that came up between rows of tomatoes or beans. The smell of a tomato plant when you touch it.
- My parents, bent over, hoeing up the dry garden in the early spring coolness, mixing in the home grown chicken compost to make sure the produce had a chance against the harsh Oklahoma wind and temperatures.
- My dad in mid-summer heat chasing down grasshoppers and squishing them with his fingers – no chemical pesticides there! This was after a 10-15 hour day of farming and carpenter work.
- Everybody praying for rain.
These days, my garden is a pitiful reminder of that 1/4-acre plot. It measures about 10′ x 8 ‘, with hand nailed borders to enclose some purchased garden soil. The success of what goes into it is mostly luck, part memory, part reading the Texas Agriculture websites, which are helpful only when the weather and insects are cooperative with their predictions and advice.
I pulled a dandy crop of green beans from my six little bush plants, only after they sulked all summer and then sprang to life when temps dropped below 95. In fall, the pepper plants of all variety suddenly remembered their DNA and start popping out Anaheims, Summer HOT Salsa, Yellow and Red Bells. I still plan to put in some beet seeds and a few winter greens if I’m not too late, but I will not repeat the big mistake of cabbage. No one can eat that much cabbage and survive the effects!
The fall tomatoes planted in August are now huge bushes loaded with beautiful green tomatoes. It’s Halloween tomorrow! Now they’re in a race to ripen or freeze, poor things, but I’m cheering them on.